Fourth Alternate Marches Forth
By Torleif Sorenson on 5/3/13
On Wednesday, we told you about a rash of player withdrawals from the Wells Fargo Championship, this week's PGA Tour stop in Charlotte. The high-profile stars who withdrew include Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson, and (cough) Vijay Singh. Another of the defections was Swedish-born Freddie Jacobson — and when he bailed from the field, that allowed PGA Tour rookie Derek Ernst to get into the game.
In Round 1 on Thursday, he made it count.
Ernst "eased his way" around Quail Hollow in a cool 67 strokes, with three bogeys offset by eight birdies, including four in a row from 14 through 17. The UNLV graduate is playing in only his ninth PGA Tour event, but he got there fair-and-square. He earned his card at Q-School, then made his first cut at his first event at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.
As Helen Ross reports, that Ernst is able to play professional golf at all is pretty remarkable; he suffered an horrific eye injury as a child, which still interferes with his game. And while the story of the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship has already been full of bumps (yes, pun very much intended), it is far from over. If you're looking for a feel-good story and a rookie to cheer for, Derek Ernst might be your man.
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Image via PGA Tour
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